The British Business Forum (BBF), the voice of British business people in Kuwait held its last general meeting of the year before the Annual General Meeting at the British Embassy on Wednesday to a capacity audience of the BBF membership.
Paul McKay Chairman introduced cloud computing in the context of business as the meeting subject. He told the Arab Times that cloud computing continues to be touted as a major breakthrough in information technology and in how organisations design and deliver business services. For two decades, IT has been on a journey from being a back-office technical function to a service-oriented and strategic business resource. He said, “Increasing numbers of companies now have their heads in the cloud”. Those companies that have moved into cloud technologies, while also increasing their reliance on outsourcing, are freeing themselves from organisational and technological constraints while enabling significant new business opportunities. A recent study found that 40 percent of companies attributed cloud usage to reduced costs.
But cloud computing was still a buzz word to many and not understood. He introduced Mahmoud Mansour, Engagement Manager Microsoft Consultancy Services (MCS) located in Kuwait to explain the cloud computing revolution which is as big a change in the technology world as anything that has gone before, transforming the industry and leaving victims in its wake. The competition among cloud computing rivals is increasing as they attempt to lower prices while growing their user base. Microsoft, IBM and Google are investing millions of dollars into research.
In a cloud computing system local computers no longer have to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to running applications. The network of computers that make up the cloud handles them instead. Hardware and software demands on the user's side decrease. The only thing the user's computer needs to be able to connect to the internet through a Web browser, and the cloud takes care of the rest. That application would allow workers to log into a Web-based service which hosts all the programs the user would need for his or her job. Remote datacenters owned by cloud services providers would run everything from e-mail to word processing to complex data analysis programs.
Questions about cloud computing in the business audience were concerning security and privacy. The idea of handing over important data to another company worries some people. Corporate executives might hesitate to take advantage of a cloud computing system because they can't keep their company's information under lock and key. The counterargument to this position was that the companies offering cloud computing services live and die by their reputations. It benefits these companies to have reliable security measures in place. On a general end note, in a world where responsiveness and agility increasingly mark the difference between high performers and also-rans, agile IT and agile business will continue to be a distinctive feature of marketplace success.